As the month kicks into high gear, I’m trying to set good habits and stick to routines while knocking out as much work before 2018 hits. Like a lot of you, this year has felt very off-kilter for me, mostly because of the state of the world and politics (honestly, this post pretty much summed up everything I’d been feeling during most of 2017) while my creativity, self-care and any sense of balance got thrown onto the back burner.
Finally, I’ve gotten some basics under control. Little things. Settling into being vegan. Committing to a new skincare routine. Researching new systems for Branch. Making sure to drink more water. What I’ve realized is that tiny shifts can start to add up and I’m feeling happier (and much less frazzled) because of them.
The last few months have looked like this:
• SAYING YES BUT ALSO SAYING NO: I freaked out a bit when a 3 week trip I’d committed to ages ago finally crept up. I was nowhere close to caught up with work but I packed my bags and got on the plane for 2 weeks in Italy and a week in Morocco. Did I have waves of panic when I realized how behind I was? Totally. But I still lived it up! Walking miles every way while bundled up in my favorite leather jacket and taking hundreds of photos? PURE HEAVEN.
I am really excited about some big changes in 2018. And to make room to facilitate those big changes I’m saying no to some things, even when it makes my stomach drop and I’m afraid of the outcome.
• NEW YEAR, NEW LOOK: The thing I’m most excited about is the new Branch website, photos, media kit, client guides, processes, EVERYTHING. It’s been such a long time coming. This has been taking up most of my bandwidth when I’m not working on client projects or traveling which is why I’ve been quieter over here but finally, finally, things are coming together.
When I launched Branch over 4 years ago, getting a site live was a necessity and perfection was not. The studio grew fast, I moved into an office space and though I was never happy with the way the site looked, focusing on client work was my priority. Finally, I knew it was time to show my own brand some love. I did a shoot in Washington, D.C. over the summer, handed off our new site for development and on nights and weekends, I’ve been working on all the other bits and pieces. When we go live in January, I’ll do a post here about what I learned during the process.
• PARTING WITH TIKI: Did you see my post about Tiki, our newest rescue squirrel? That was a hard one to write and I still miss her all the time. It’s been a big adjustment to not have her running around the house but she seems really, really happy with her new family. Awww.
• THE BIG RENOVATION: I feel like my entire life is a renovation right now! LOL! When we moved into our house 8 years ago, we didn’t have a budget for changes beyond the basics like paint so there was a lot that still needed some TLC. While I was away in Italy, my brother and Joey teamed up to begin remodeling our kitchen.
Goodbye 80s-era baby blue countertops, stained floral linoleum and non-functional trash compactor! Hello, floor-to-ceiling white subway tile, big gold faucet, new dishwasher, herringbone-tiled countertops, marbled flooring and non-broken cupboards! It’s so amazing to finally have a fully functional kitchen! I’ll take photos soon….but right now there are still tools, grout and boxes of tile everywhere. Haha.
• SETTING GOALS: Is anyone else as excited for 2018 as I am? I know that the new year, new start mentality is such a cliché but I can’t help it! The winding down of a year, spending holidays with family, wrapping up loose ends and setting fresh goals feels so good.
This year I fell short in a lot of ways but in others, threw out the pressure of expectations and just lived life. And that’s the truth — life isn’t a perfectly curated Instagram feed. It’s messy, unexpected, sometimes boring and up and down and everything in-between. There’s so much beauty in that.
Here’s to a wonderful December and I hope yours is off to a good start! —Shauna
• Alex Franzen has such a magical way with words. One of my favorite posts she’s ever written is The Internet Pledge.
• In the 13 years since The New York Times Modern Love column began, over 80,000 submissions have rolled in. For a good laugh: My ex-boyfriend hangs from hooks!
• How do you feel about trading your services?
• Productivity is really about what you don’t do. I’m still learning this mindset (and failing all the time!)
• Wait, what?! Some people listen to podcasts at 3 times the regular speed.
• Getting ‘motivated’ does not equal doing the work.
• If you prefer that matchmaking apps help you find your next professional connection instead a one-night-stand, Bizz (by the founders of Bumble) is for you!
• Um, these pies are too beautiful to eat.
• The 8 types of friends you need to be happy in life.
• If you’ve heard about the fight for Net Neutrality but aren’t sure what it’s all about, The New York Times explains.
• I love the AfroArt photo series!
• The best books of 2017.
• What would it feel like to delete all your social media apps and give yourself permission to live without their constant pull?